Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja, et all, By Mohammed Haruna

Mohd Haruna new pix 600In keeping with my promise of last week, below is the longest of the reactions to my tribute to Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, on occasion of the celebration of the 20th year since his ascension. This reaction and the next will be the last of such lengthy reactions I will publish under my column, much as I would like to promote sensible debates on issues. Henceforth any response by text or email longer than 150 words should be sent to the editors of this newspaper who, of course, have the discretion to publish or not.
Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja
A couple of years ago I wrote to you when you referred to the late President Umaru Musa as a subject of the emir of Katsina. Yet again, you have used the same characterization for a whole lot of people, the people of Suleja and no doubt, by extension other Nigerians as subjects. I was deeply disappointed when you referred to the President of a whole country of over 170 million people as a subject. I am not writing this to castigate you, but to ask that you please re-examine one of the most fundamental of all beliefs, namely, if in this day and age or in any age for that matter, the ruler / subject worldview is moral, democratic or decent. In my mind, there is no decency in a world where we still refer to citizens as subjects. We should be actively challenging and dismantling such primitive institutions and moving our people toward a world of equal worth, to a merit based world, a democratic world, where hereditary or anointed leaders is a thing of the past.
To paraphrase a famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a quote you know very well, “We should judge a person by the content of their character and contribution and not by any other consideration”
I mentioned to you in the last letter I wrote to you regarding referring the late Umaru Musa as a subject, that many, many years ago, at the beginning of your brilliant writing career and a self-made rising star, I happened to be around a couple of your friends, people you knew very well, when some of them made what was meant as a disparaging comment regarding your humble beginnings. The moment I heard the comment I instinctively reacted because it felt raw, unfair, mean spirited and elitist. They were clearly saying in no uncertain terms, “well so what, he is still a subject, therefore beneath us”. I took offence and said something to the effect that “the guy has good character, is friendly, humble, sharp and hardworking, what more do you want?” As far as I was concerned they were no better than you.
I knew jealousy is a universal human condition and our friends were young and therefore might not yet have been fully discerning, but it didn’t make it any less offensive. Sadly, there you were effectively saying the same of the late Umaru Musa and now the people of Suleja and by extension the people of Nigeria.
Sure, there is an important distinction; you were not saying it to be mean spirited or out of jealousy. Nevertheless, the word, the characterization and the world it describes is fundamentally demeaning. That world and that word should be assigned to the dustbin of history.
In my eyes, I put no one above you and you are not someone’s subject by any definition of the word. You are one of the few people in that country that have earned their place in life by striving to maximize the gifts the Almighty God gave you. No one gave you anything. You earned it fair and square. You didn’t become who you are by chance or through connections or any sort of patronage, that much is very clear about you.
What the people of Suleja and everyone else for that matter need, is someone who would contribute in real terms, to the quality of their lives. The real king, the real prince, the real princess, is literally in the trenches, working, producing, toiling, sweating and getting dirty with the people. That is the only qualification you need to become a king, a prince, a princess, and every single person could become that. In that world there is no subject.
Sahalu Saidu

Etsu Nupe
Thank you very much for your columns. They are always informative and educative. Please keep it up. My only comments or observations on your tribute to Etsu Yahaya Abubakar are as follows.
Firstly, Etsu Yahaya is not the 13th Etsu Nupe. He is the 36th. Why? If you analyse Nupe history from 1300 to date, you will discover that we had 19 authentic or independent or non-controversial Etsu Nupe starting from Tsoede, the first Etsu Nupe (1483-1591), to the last Etsu Nupe Muhammadu (1795-1805) before the Fulani jihad. The period from 1805-1832 was characterized by succession dispute, factionalisation, Fulani intervention and ascendency. Hence during this period puppet Etsu Nupe were produced and retained in power by the Fulanis until they finally took over the title in 1832.
It is a historical fact that Mallam Dendo throughout his life refused to crown himself as Etsu Nupe. Rather he gave the title to his favourites from any of the two factionalized or divided Tsoede dynasty (Yissazhi and Gwagwazhi) while he himself retained the real power. This situation continued until he died in 1832 when his children took over the title and the power that went with it. This continued up till 1897 when one of the faction sided British (Royal Niger Company) against Bida.
Therefore if we add 19 independent Etsu Nupe from Tsoede dynasty (Old Nupe kingdom) with 17 Fulani Etsu Nupezhi, then Alhaji Abubakar Yahaya is 36th Etsu Nupe not 13th.
We have 17 not 13 Fulani Etsu Nupes because Usman Zaki, Masaba, Abubakar, and Muhammadu Makun each reigned twice. Thus if you add 4 to 13 you will get 17 Fulani Etsu Nupes not 13.
Additionally, if we are to talk of Etsu Nupes that ruled from Bida, the correct count would make Etsu Yahaya the 15th not 13th because Abubakar and Muhammadu Maku ruled twice from Bida. From the foregoing analysis the appropriate position Etsu Yahaya occupies in Nupe history is 36th.
In addition to the tribute you paid the Etsu, let me say he is a peace maker, bridge builder, reformer, role model, pillar of unity and a socio-economic promoter.
Furthermore, when you mentioned national leaders Niger State has produced so far you left out Dr. Nnamadi Azikwe, the First President in Nigeria who was born in Zungeru, and General Inuwa Wushishi, former Chief of Army Staff.
Finally, the attack on Bida was by Royal Niger Company not British West African Frontier Force. Again the war lasted 12 days not two days and 17 British Soldiers including Lieutenant Thompson lost their lives, not eight as was said in one of the feedback to your article.
Also the person who criticised your assertion that after the fall of Bida, the rest of the Sokoto caliphate fell easily was wrong because with the fall of Bida, as you said, other Emirates and Chiefdoms in what is now Nigeria fell like a pack of cards. In fact, it was only Bida that fought gallantly against Europeans. This was evidence in Goldie’s words when he said “Nupe has always and rightly been looked upon as by far the most powerful State of the Sokoto Empire and the fall of Bida will strike terror far and wide”.
Danjuma Ismaila
National Archives
The National Conference
Please recall my earlier text to you on National Conference being convened by President Jonathan in which I said I objected to your write up. You should disregard my comments as I later realised you and I were saying the same thing in certain aspects of your write up concerning the behaviour of our politicians not keeping faith with the constitution.
The only area I still object to is in your belief that Jonathan is playing the same game of insincerity simply because the previous military leaders played the same game in the past.
Ekiran SP
I can assure you that Jonathan will fail in this gamble. I come from the South-South and I don’t think any sensible person down here will vote for this man again in 2015. Whatever result he will gather here would be rigged by people like Goodwill Akpabio, the Army, the Police and the INEC. If the security personnel were loyal only to the Constitution, Jonathan would score zero in non-Ijaw areas of the South-South.

At least the president did not mention “Kare jini biri jini” in his quest to conquer 2015 election.
Edward Ali kumo
Prognosis of governorship election in Niger State
If you cannot promote your brother Nupes for governor your silence would have been better. Your cousin, General M. A. Garba (rtd), has been in forefront of the struggle to produce one. May God protect him for his services to the Nupe people. You only serve the interest of your masters who are settlers in Niger. We know you were press secretary to one of them.
In sha Allah, your prayer of making his son in law governor will not be answered and a Nupe man or woman will win as is the wish of your progressive cousin and other progressives across the Nupeland.
Wing Cdr Magana( rtd)
(Contrary to your remark that only Niger, Kano and Ogun States have produced more than one head of state each), I thought Katsina also produced both Gen Muhammadu Buhari and the late President Umaru Yar’adua.

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